Guterres says UN is working with US and EU to get Russian food to markets

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ISTANBUL, Aug 20 (Reuters) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday the UN was working with the United States and the European Union to overcome obstacles to the delivery of food and Russian fertilizers on world markets.

António Guterres said that under a UN-brokered deal reached in Turkey last month to resume grain exports from Ukraine halted since Russia’s invasion in February, more than 650,000 metric tons cereals and other foods were already being exported.

“The other part of this comprehensive agreement is unhindered access to global markets for Russian food and fertilizers, which are not subject to sanctions,” António Guterres said in Istanbul, where he visited a center of coordination overseeing exports.

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He said the countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine had made it clear that the measures did not apply to foodstuffs and fertilizers, but added that there had nevertheless been a “chilling effect” on exports.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrives on a boat to navigate a ship carrying Ukrainian grain, at Zeyport in Istanbul, Turkey August 20, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

“There are a number of hurdles and difficulties that need to be overcome with regard to maritime transport…insurance and…finance,” António Guterres told a press conference at the alongside Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

Guterres said the United Nations was working with Washington and the European Union to remove those obstacles.

“Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers,” he said.

Russia and Ukraine accounted for about a third of global wheat exports before the Feb. 24 Russian invasion, which Moscow calls a special military operation. Russia is also a major fertilizer exporter.

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Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Written by Dominic Evans; Editing by David Clarke and Gareth Jones

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